Forum of Private Business announces key changes providing tailored support for small firms
Formed in 1977, the Forum of Private Business is also evolving following a year of intensive research about the real needs of small businesses.
As an invaluable extension to its members’ teams the not-for-profit organisation has developed a range of tailored business solutions to support, protect and reassure small firms throughout the lifecycle of their businesses.
While larger companies can afford to invest many thousands of pounds employing senior managers across disciplines such as finance, HR, health and safety and legal compliance, it is beyond the financial means of most small firms.
As an essential ‘extra member of staff’ the Forum of Private Business is helping business owners and managers by providing comprehensive support, advice and practical guidance across every aspect of business, through a range of tailored solutions to real business problems at a fraction of the cost of recruiting and retaining full-time managers.
Bringing together their extensive knowledge and experience the Forum of Private Business’ staff, advisers and partners are ‘the business people’ working to save small businesses time and money by providing all of the resources required to start and grow a successful business.
The Forum of Private Business’s new solutions are: ‘Finance Director’, ‘Legal Director’, ‘HR Director’, ‘Health and Safety Director’, ‘Development Director’, ‘Purchasing Director’, ‘Communications Director’ and ‘Managing Director’.
26% of businesses would like financial support but 62% of these feel it is unavailable to them (FPB 2009)
The Forum of Private Business offers expert advice and practical guidance across all areas of business finance and assists small businesses save money by reducing their business costs.
In addition to producing tailored financial solutions for individual businesses this solution includes an advice helpline and support on issues such as debt recovery, credit reporting and business monitoring, completing tax returns and improving credit ratings.
Firms benefit from a comprehensive credit control guide, support on business rates appeals and access to a range of cost-effective business insurance products.
77% of FPB guide users require expert legal support (FPB 2008-2010)
FPB members are given peace of mind via a 24-hour legal helpline, comprehensive legal expenses insurance and a range of insurance policies. Small businesses can tailor their legal cover to suit their individual requirements.
Employment law costs small businesses £2.4 billion per year (FPB 2009)
Employees are a businesses key resource. Via the Forum of Private Business’s HR Director solution business owners are given the confidence that they are managing their people effectively.
The service includes insured employment advice and a dedicated advice helpline, HR training, an Employment Guide available online or as a hard-copy featuring practical templates detailing every step of employment law compliance and a range of staff benefits including a healthcare cash plan.
Members of the Forum of Private Business are also being given comprehensive support on how to benefit from the changing face of the British workforce. Companies can follow a three step pathway and gain an Equality Mark provided to Forum members by the UK Council for Access and Equality (UKCAE), providing an easy-to-use practical framework for achieving equality at work.
Health and Safety Director
Health and safety compliance costs businesses more than £2 billion per year (FPB 2009)
Small businesses are provided with access to expertise on health and safety compliance. Reassurance and guidance comes in the form of insured advice and the health and safety helpline and via the Forum of Private Business’s Health & Safety Guide, including customisable and downloadable templates.
The Forum of Private Business will also be offering a tailored health and safety solution incorporating all of these elements, as well as on-site health and safety checks access to comprehensive report and further support in the workplace.
Business Development Director
52% of businesses are investigating ways of reaching new customers (FPB 2009)
There are many ways a business can seek to grow. The Forum of Private Business’s Business Development Director solution helps owner managers find the best ways of driving their businesses forward.
The tailored service will allow businesses to upload profiles on to the Forum of Private Business’s online directory, provides access to networking events and franchising opportunities, market intelligence and advertising opportunities and includes expert advice on sales and marketing via the helpline, articles, tele-seminars, webinars and video clips.
62% of businesses are prioritizing reducing costs (FPB 2010)
The Forum of Private Business aims to ensure that efficiency is the watchword for businesses making purchasing decisions.
The service includes helpline support, access to exclusive deals on business broadband, telecoms, utilities deals and card processing (merchant services), free purchasing appraisals and a bespoke purchasing solution. Members will also have access to a privilege card providing them with specially negotiated discounts.
77% of non-Forum of Private Business members feel they cannot influence national or local government policies (FPB 2009)
The Forum of Private Business’s Communications Director solution gives small businesses a voice to lobby local, national and European government. It provides them
with opportunities to appear in national and regional media and voice their opinions via Referendum, the Forum of Private Business’s quarterly survey and campaigns newsletter.
54% of business owners want advice tailored to their specific needs (FPB 2009)
The Forum of Private Business is also providing complete support and guidance for owner-managers via access to tailored business solutions. Services include the business advice helpline and a dedicated business adviser, a business consultancy service, ‘mastermind’ groups and assistance in strategic planning.
The Forum of Private Business also realise that every business needs different levels of support and guidance and so therefore are providing members with the option of four different membership packages.
The membership options begin with ‘Introductory’, a basic business support package that is available free of charge. The next level of membership package is ‘Intermediate’ and then ‘Advanced’, with increasing levels of business support and related services. Finally, there is an ‘expert’ membership package which includes the fully tailored business services, focussing on the specific needs of the business.
FPB Chief Executive Phil Orford said: “Like any other small business, the Forum is adapting to fit in with a changing market. We’ve entered a new economic era and, in order to reflect that, we’ve made some important alterations to what we’re offering our members.
“Our new support package is designed to help with every aspect of running an SME. It means that for a modest annual fee, even the smallest of businesses can call on all the back office resources of a multinational company.
“We will help with everything, from workplace legislation and tax regulations, through to purchasing and business development, leaving you free to get on with the day-to-day running of your business.”
Mr Orford added: “As it was when the Forum was founded in 1977, the key to all this is strength in numbers. The Forum can only offer everything it does, and give small businesses a powerful collective voice, because of its sizable membership.
“It’s literally a case of ‘united we stand’ and I hope a new generation of entrepreneurs will come to enjoy the extensive benefits that membership of the Forum of Private Business brings.”